Here’s why ‘Westworld’ season 3 is the most boring show on TV
After an amazing first season that warped the minds of literally every person and robot who experienced it, the second season was more like a robot taking a nosedive off of a very steep cliff; it was still processing everything, but we all knew it was inevitably going to end in a mess. There were too many timelines, too many side characters, too many robots inside other robots designed to look like people who used to be people.
It was a slow, maddening mess.
The worst part was that it kicked off at the most exciting moment; right after the robot hosts decided to go on a murder spree for the rich guests in the park. The original 1973 film (starring Yul Brenner as the man in black) began at the same moment, but while the film embraced the murderous rampage, the show decided to gloss over it and waste multiple scenes of Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) confused and contemplating mortality.
The movie was more effective, because there is truly nothing more terrifying than Yul Brenner on a horse coming straight for you.
We just want the robots to kill people
It’s not hard. All we are expecting on this show is violent delights with violent endings. We want those robots to go ham on human civilization and murder all of the obscenely wealthy tourists.
Instead, we had the third season premiere, “Parce Domine.”
This is a bad sign already. We do not need episode titles referencing Gregorian chants. We need Yul Brenner on a horse, shooting down capitalist scum.
The third season premiere was more entertaining than the prior season, but that’s not a high bar to clear (especially for a robot.) Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) has broadened the playing field with her entree into human society. Within the first 10 minutes, she has psychologically and physically tortured a billionaire to secure funding for her mission. This is perfect, fitting, for a show about murderous robots.
We seriously just want the robots to kill people
This show is strongest when it focuses exclusively on what the robots want: they want revenge, they want their family, they want to murder every rich a-hole whoever used the park to play out their rapist/murder fantasies on the hosts. It is clear and concise whenever the show follows Dolores or Maeve (Thandie Newton).
Westworld is a tragic mess whenever it focuses on broader themes.
The constant references to Shakespeare seem telling: his work was strongest when there was a clear trajectory for each character. Nobody was looking at Hamlet and suggesting more time should have been spent to flesh out the motivation for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Like, how hard is it for robots to kill people?
The premiere gave us a taste of what the second season denied us, but it still seems dedicated to drawn-out exposition and world building in a world that was already perfectly depicted in its first season.
The introduction to new characters also feels like more of the same: Caleb Nichols (Aaron Paul) feels like another Teddy (James Marsden) who will be entranced by Dolores and her mission, willing to give up everything to support her.
We’re not clamoring for something new, we just want something good.
That’s why we’re not holding much hope out for this new season. By the third season, a show should establish whose story it is following and who is supporting in that quest. There are still too many side plots and mysteries and time jumps to make for a cohesive story.
Westworld was a tour de force in its first season, focused almost exclusively on the maze for the hosts and the man in black’s (Ed Harris) obsessive quest to take control of that journey for himself. Then the show got renewed and everything got sloppy.
We’re holding out hope the third season will focus on tighter storytelling, but we’re not optimistic. Like the robot hosts, we’ve been disappointed by people before.
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